Breeding Male Wigeon

Green Eye Stripe

Green Eye Stripe

American wigeon (Anas americana) females, males in eclipse (non breeding) and juveniles, to me, generally appear grey brown. Their flanks and breasts in the right light  may have an orange or pinkish tinge. However, I usually think of wigeons as rather dull birds.

A male wigeon in breeding plumage is much more colorful with a white crown, grey face and glossy green eye stripe. The small bill is blue.

American wigeon winter in Mexico and the southern and coastal areas of the United States. Wigeon breed in the northern tier of western states, Canada and Alaska, further north than any other dabbling duck except the pintail. Our area in Northeastern California has wigeon year round.

Wigeon eat mostly plant matter and can be found in shallow freshwater wetlands and near ponds and rivers.  Wigeon are comfortable on land where they often can be found feeding.

This striking male American wigeon was swimming on Hat Creek near the Crystal Lake Fish Hatchery (Shasta County CA).

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